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The Twin Cities are the lucky guinea pigs for Comcast's new high-speed internet

Verizon's FiOS fiber broadband connection is currently the only option for United States Internet surfers to wander about the world wide web while downloading content at up to 50 Mbps and uploading data at up to 20 Mbps. However, Verizon's FiOS service is limited to a few areas at this time, even though roll-out is being performed slowly but surely.

Recently, Comcast also announced plans to increase the maximum bandwidth of its broadband service to 50 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload bandwidth to compete with Verizon.

Currently, Comcast is running its broadband service aalong the DOCSIS 2.0 protocol, or the second generation of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications. This protocol tops out with a maximum downstream bandwidth of 42.88 Mbps while the maximum upstream bandwidth tops out at 30.72 Mbps.

For Comcast to increase its bandwidth, it will have to begin using DOCSIS 3.0 compliant hardware. The initial DOCSIS 3.0 specs will utilize four channels over cable; which allows the compatible hardware to serve twice the amount of data per second than DOCSIS 2.0's dual channel design.

Through the 4-channel design, DOCSIS 3.0 compliant hardware will allow a maximum of 170 Mbps and 123 Mbps downstream and upstream bandwidth respectively. To achieve this higher bandwidth, Comcast must upgrade its back-end infrastructure to to hardware complaint with DOCSIS 3.0 and must also provide upgrades to customers' leased modems or offer new hardware that is capable of supporting DOCSIS 3.0.

The high-bandwidth options from Comcast are in trial in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota but Comcast states it will begin mass rollout once the design has been finalized and ready for use over its nationwide infrastructure, which Comcast's president of marketing and product development states may be by 2010.

Meanwhile, Verizon has brought its fiber-based broadband connection to a number of markets in the U.S. If Comcast goes through with these speed increases, we may hopefully see some long-awaited price wars in the broadband industry.

Pricing for the 50/20 Mbps download/upload package is stated around $150 and is only planned for the residential market. Business owners may have the option for a higher-bandwidth package in the future, however, no pricing information has been made available at this time.

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Upgrades are awsome but,
By MGSsancho on 4/3/2008 4:39:54 PM , Rating: 4
I understand Comcast is testing this in Twin Falls. Anyone know if Twin Falls is suffering from lower quality HD channels, throttled internet or anything of that nature. I know it has happened else ware but if Comcast is installing Bigger pipes then they have no excuse to degrade your service.

RE: Upgrades are awsome but,
By SandmanWN on 4/3/2008 4:50:20 PM , Rating: 3
Most likely they created a list of the top 15% of users in those two cities that actually used the full bandwidth they paid good money for and disconnected their internet service.

Free upgrade for all the other users that use 1/10 of what they paid for.

RE: Upgrades are awsome but,
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 4/3/08, Rating: 0
RE: Upgrades are awsome but,
By RDO CA on 4/3/2008 5:47:12 PM , Rating: 2
The cable co won't drop the analog channels at least TW as they say that they have too many cust that just have a old set connected without a box and if they cut off them they would loose alot or have to give them a box. I have 4 sets and 1 is a crt straight out of the wall with no box and I have been told it will work with no change. The analog uses up aprox 3/5 of the band width but what they are doing is going to SDV (switched digital Videoo)and just send out a channel in any node where a customer is requesting it and that way they can have many more channels than they would have bandwidth for.

RE: Upgrades are awsome but,
By RjBass on 4/3/2008 6:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
Where are you located at? TW here in Kansas City is saying the same thing, they are even advertising that people who have rabbit ears don't need to get a digital converter box if the switch to basic cable for $10/month. They are going to continue to send out a basic tier analog feed for several years to come still.

By theapparition on 4/3/2008 9:52:56 PM , Rating: 3
The problem with the HD channels is from the massive bandwidth that Analog channels eat up. I had a tech this fall tell me that they will be able to add a lot more HD channels after the DTV transistion (Feb 2009). He said that for every analog station they drop, they can either add 5 HD or 10 Digital channels.

Wrong.......don't fall for the tech's misinformation.
The ATSC spec defines HD channels to use the exact same 6MHz bandwidth as existing analog channels (NTSC). 720p and 1080i just fit into a 6MHz bandwidth with acceptable compression. 1080p has to be compressed more.

So, to further clarify, if they really shove 5 HD channels in the same space allocated for analog, that means they are compressing the signal 5X more than "acceptable". Your already seeing reports here on DT that detail how certain areas are getting affected with high levels of artifacts and poor resolution.
For proper rebroadcast of HD channels, they can fit 1 HD station for every 1 analog channel eliminated. No more. For 480p digital signals, they can fit approx 3:1 ratio.

Anything more than that, and it's no longer (at least in my opinion) acceptable HD signals. However, give how Comcast just plain sucks........I wouldn't put it past them.

Even with DOCSIS 3.0, they have no chance of keeping up with FIOS. Verizon already has plans to upgrade to 100mbps/20mbps if necessary.

RE: Upgrades are awsome but,
By HueyD on 4/4/2008 8:46:46 AM , Rating: 2

This article states that this service is also Fiber optic. And I heard that Comcast is actually the largest operator of fiber optic networks in the US.

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